Last week I saw someone fist pump a person they were meeting for the first time. While it may be premature to predict the death of the handshake, it is a sure sign of the times. Or just a sign of flu season. While flu season doesn't usually hit until October, many people prepare for its coming in advance. Usually I am ignorant of these preparations but the whole H1N1 thing you may have heard of is a little difficult to escape. My friends living in caves and under rocks have even heard the news and have decided to stay in their caves and under their rocks.
The reality of the pandemic concerns first hit me on my first day of school this year. The University of Lethbridge installed hundreds and hundreds of hand sanitizer stations. You can probably only go twenty feet in the halls without seeing another one of these little things hanging off the walls or standing at the bottom of a staircase. Now because variety is the spice of life, the university has installed two different kinds of sanitizers. Based on my personal experience, not all hand sanitizers are created equal. While I am sure that they are all effective in killing the evil H1N1 germs on our hands, we all know that is not what is important in selecting a sanitizer.
Sanitizer basically comes in two types: gel or foam. While gel has certain advantages, such as drying faster, it generally just doesn't smell as nice. It carries a distinctive alcohol smell so I guess on the plus side you know you smell really clean. Foam on the other hand seems to come in a variety of smells. My personal favourite is Bath and Body's Warm Vanilla Sugar. I would equate it to Christmas on your hands. Another upside of foam is that it seems to be more likely to come in automatic dispensers. Very convenient for those of us to lazy to give that little push. On the downside, one website warns that scented sanitizers can be tempting to taste. They recommend not giving into that temptation. Apparently, sanitizers can be poisonous if ingested and I don't think people dying is congruent with the aims of the H1N1 campaign.
Personally I am a little obsessive about using the hand sanitizer. I think my hands are permanently cracked and dry from alcohol absorption. At this rate, the likelihood of me contracting alcohol poisoning exceeds that of coming down with H1N1. Based on a scientific study of myself, I would say that sanitizer is 100% effective in preventing infection.
Now for a completely random aside.
Interesting fact (if you are a history nerd): In war statistics, did you know there is a difference between the number of casualties and the number of war dead? Casualties are the number of dead and injured while war dead is pretty self explanatory. Every time someone gets injured, it counts as another casualty. So if someone loses a leg at one time, and an arm at another time, and then dies in battle, they count for three casualties and one war dead.
I just knew you were all dying to know that. A good conversation starter perhaps?